This is something I've alluded to before.
When we went out and spent the big bucks on Jefferson, we showed the rest of the league we want to win and kill the notion that we are the forever-bottom-dwellers of the league. Sure it doesn't hurt that Kemba/Hendo/MKG have gotten us some attention over the past two years, but still people didn't take us seriously. The signing of Al Jefferson was a big deal for this organization.. plain and simple.
Tolliver signing for the Vet Minimum in Charlotte while still talking with Bulls, Lakers and Clippers. Three teams that are ideal situations for any player in the league. Bulls will certainly be in the NBA Finals hunt, as well as the Clippers. The Lakers probably could offer more playing time that us- and let's be honest- even though it doesn't look like they will be world beaters this year- its still "the Lakers"..
When we signed Jefferson, it made Charlotte a more attractive destination. It was almost impossible for us to lure any free agent to come to Charlotte. We were forced to HAVE TO build through trades. (Jason Richardson, Dante Cunningham, Correy Magette, Tyson Chandler, Tyrus Thomas, Shannon Brown, Vlad Radmonavic, Desagana Diop, Boris Diaw, Eric Dampier, Eduardo Najera, Joel Pryzbilla, Flip Murray, Acie Law, Matt Carrol, Raja Bell, Stephen Jackson).. Only 4 out of 17 you could paint with a positive colored brush. If a team needed a trade partner, they would just call the Bobcats because that was the only way we had a shot at bringing in some help. Usually it ended up with us getting the short end of the stick.
Enter Rich Cho- we start drafting the correct players and NOW we have the nice young core, sprinkled in with some Vets who are not "over the hill" and stuck with their bloated contracts (**cough** Ben Gordon). I believe the Jefferson move is a sign of the tides changing for Charlotte.